William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Awards are made each year to members of the faculty for outstanding total service to the University. Each college making nominations for the award has its own detailed criteria and methods for nomination. The nominations are based on teaching; advising; research; publications; art exhibitions; concert performances; committee work; public service including extension, continuing education and work with government agencies; or a combination of these activities. Administrative excellence and length of service may not be used as the sole criteria for nomination. However, nominees usually have at least five years of service at Michigan State University.
In 2013-14, the award name changed from the Distinguished Faculty Award to the William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award.
Final selection of William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award winners is made by an All-University Awards Committee appointed by the President. No more than ten William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Awards are made each year.